THE STORY OF JESUS: Mark 9:42-50
“Where ‘the worms that eat them do not die, and the fire is not quenched.’” (Mark 9:48)
Jesus does not use the word ‘hell’ (a later English word), but the word ‘gehenna’.
“Gehenna, or the valley of Hinnom, is an actual valley in the city of Jerusalem. In Israel’s past, it was used as a place of child sacrifice. From the reign of Josiah onward, it was used as a garbage dump where the fires burned the refuse continuously. Jesus used it as an illustration of the final judgment of the wicked.”
In Matthew 18 He uses the word ‘Hades’, the Greek god of the underworld (Matthew 16:18).
Jesus borrows the symbols of the day to describe the final judgement.
If we took Jesus literally, ‘hell’ would be in Israel, and the god Hades would be real.
There doesn’t need to be actual fire (nor an actual millstone) for that judgment to be serious.
I take Jesus’s warnings about the final judgment very seriously.
But I do not let my imagination go too far in describing what it will be like.
Jesus calls us to take our sins seriously now, not to ignore their consequences!
As a Jesus follower, I need to hate sin, what it does to God and others and what it will do to me.
A day will come when it will be too late, and that judgment will be final!
What do you sense the Lord saying to you?
Lord, help me not to debate the temperature of gehenna. Help me to deal with the sin that You took so seriously, that You died so that I might be rescued and restored.